Sports medicine

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Sports medicine
KT 1000 to measure anterior-posterior laxity of the knee.jpeg
Orthopaedics is a large part of sports medicine, and knee injuries a common theme. Here a subject is having the anterior-posterior laxity of his knee tested.
SystemMusculoskeletal, Cardiovascular
especially athletics
Significant diseases
Significant testsMusculoskeletal tests
SpecialistSports physician
GlossaryGlossary of medicine

Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with physical fitness and the treatment and prevention of injuries related to sports and exercise. Although most sports teams have employed team physicians for many years, it is only since the late 20th century that sports medicine has emerged as a distinct field of health care.


Sports medicine physicians have completed medical school, specialized in residency training, and then specialize further in sports medicine or 'sports and exercise medicine' (the preferred term). Specialization in sports medicine may be a doctor's first specialty (as in Australia, Netherlands, Norway, Italy). It may also be a sub-specialty or second specialisation following a specialisation such as physiatry, family medicine, paediatrics or orthopedic surgery. The various approaches reflect the medical culture in different countries.

Specializing in the treatment of athletes and other physically active individuals, sports and exercise medicine physicians have extensive education in musculoskeletal medicine. SEM doctors treat injuries such as muscle, ligament, tendon and bone problems, but may also treat chronic illnesses that can affect physical performance, such as asthma and diabetes. SEM doctors also advise on managing and preventing injuries.

SEM consultants also deliver clinical physical activity interventions, negating the burden of disease directly attributable to physical inactivity and the compelling evidence for the effectiveness of exercise in the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of disease.

Sports Medicine Consultant doctor kannan pugazhendi.jpg

Exercise medicine[edit]

The Foresight Report[1] issued by the UK's Government Office for Science, 17 October 2007, highlighted the unsustainable health and economic costs of a nation that continues to be largely sedentary. It forecasts that the incremental costs of this inactivity will be $10 billion per year by 2050 and the wider costs to society and businesses $49.9 billion. Physical inactivity inevitably leads to ill-health and it forecasts the cost of paying for this impact will be unsustainable in the future. No existing group of medical specialists is equipped with the skills and training to deal with this challenge.

Public health[edit]

SEM physicians are frequently involved in promoting the therapeutic benefits of physical activity, exercise and sport for the individuals and communities. SEM Physicians in the UK spend a period of their training in public health, and advise public health physicians on matters relating to physical activity promotion. An example of published work includes the Royal College of Physicians publications.

Common sports injuries[edit]

Some of the more common sport injuries are concussions, muscle cramps, ACL sprains, ACL tears, ankle sprains, shin splints, muscle strains, etc...

The relationship between athletes and athletic trainers[edit]

Athletic trainers are the central role on a sports medicine team which enable them to have an important influence in their environment. Athletic trainers are multi-skilled health care professionals who provides services that include primary care, injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion, emergent care, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation to injuries. They are able to provide the right care to help with rehabilitation time and reduce future injuries.[2] While their care focuses on the physical issues and how to go about them, athletic trainers also focus on the psychosocial response’s athletes have to injuries and recovery outcomes. Due to athletic trainers being the first responder on a scene of an athletic injury, they are relied on to handle emotional distress associated with the injury along with the injury itself. Athletes have perceived athletic trainers to provide better psychosocial support over coaches and or teammates during this time. The support given by trainers has been found to enhance the confidence, well-being, and injury recovery. Researchers define the support as empathic.[3]

When an athlete is injured, an athletic trainer is key to what happens next. Because they are important in the road to recovery, the trainer and athlete spend a significant amount of time together going through rehabilitation. As like any injury, comes the emotional distress and let down. This can impact the recovery process and possibly the future of an athlete’s athletic career. The challenges faced psychosocially may not always be apparent but do need attention called to it. Scholars have noted that social isolation, poor rehabilitation and low motivation can come with injuries and mess with the return to normal health.[4] By providing empathy, AT’s can help maneuver this mindset to a motivational one that gets the athlete to push through. The factors of empathy related to athletic training are established as themes of advocacy, communication, approachability, access, and competence. These themes were found by J Sport Rehabilitation, whom researched the athletes’ perception of athletic trainer empathy and how important it is. Providing these 5 themes help to advance the patient-trainer relationship, which is critical to enable the best treatment outcomes.[5]

It is important that this relationship is built to build trust between the two. With this trust, an athlete can believe in themselves and create a self-determination by the strength shown by the trainer. Not only does it create a self-determination, but it helps the athlete to begin to focus outside the problem and trust in the support of others around them and themselves. The job as a AT is emotionally demanding since it is very emotionally straining for the athlete, but the trainer goes through it with them and ends up in the same strain. Through the emotional stress, the athlete will come to accept what has happen and it is because of the trainer that they do so. The trainer should soften their tone, listen attentively, and increase self-awareness to show the athlete they are there to get them to their best selves and show the positivity in what will come. By this, the athlete is guaranteed a better outcome and a faster recovery. It is a main concept in sports medicine to do what is best for the athlete and providing this care is essential since most athletes tend to give up when an event happens that causes them to be unable to do what they used to.[6][7]


  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Founded in 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine is the largest and most prominent sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. ACSM has more than 45,000 International, National and Regional Chapter members.[8]
  • Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) The Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine is the national medical specialty society for sport medicine physicians in Canada. The Academy is open for membership to medical doctors (MD) within Canada and internationally. Founded in 1970, the Academy serves as a means to ensure its members are kept up to date with current medical practices in sport medicine. The Diploma of Sport and Exercise Medicine (DipSportMed) developed by CASEM, is a recognized credential for sport medicine physicians in Canada. The Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, founded by CASEM, is a peer reviewed sport medicine journal, now published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine is a world leader in sports medicine education, research, communication, and fellowship. Founded in 1972, AOSSM is an international organization of orthopaedic surgeons and other allied health professionals dedicated to sports medicine. Essentially every professional and collegiate team has a team physician who is a member of the AOSSM.[9]
  • American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.[10]
  • National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Founded in 1950, the mission of the National Athletic Trainers Association is to represent, engage and foster the continued growth and development of the athletic training profession and athletic trainers as unique health care providers.
  • Canadian Athletic Therapists' Association (CATA) Founded in 1965.[11] The Canadian Athletic Therapists Association (CATA) is an organization devoted to the comprehensive health care of an individual at any level of physical ability by Certified Athletic Therapists.
  • American Medical Association (AMA) The American Medical Association recognized Athletic Training(AT) as an allied health profession in 1990.[12]
  • International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Sports Medicine (ISAKOS) The ISAKOS - International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine is an international society with over 4,000 surgeons members, dedicated to advancing of education, research and patient care in arthroscopy, knee surgery and orthopaedic sports medicine around the world.
  • International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science was formed in 1990 by an international group of dance medicine practitioners, dance educators, dance scientists, and dancers. Membership is drawn equally from the medical and dance professions, and has grown from an initial 48 members in 1991 to over 900 members at present worldwide, representing 35 countries.



Sports medicine, is an ancient practice that became a known thing in 1855. During this time we started to realize the importance of diet and taking the proper vitamins. In 1870 metabolism and heat exchange during exercise was introduced. In 1982 there were specific degrees that universities started to offer for the development of the field.[14] In 1995 sports teams started employing team doctors and medical professionals. In recent years Western society has increasingly recognized the dangers of physical inactivity, and significant efforts have been made within the public health community to encourage the nation to become more physically active. To reflect this paradigm shift BASM has renamed itself BASEM (British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine) and the speciality itself has rebranded from Sports Medicine to Sport & Exercise Medicine.[1] Many western European countries and the United States during the mid 1900”s began to recognize sports medicine as a formal practice. This was shown with the formation of The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 1954 (Heggie 186). Since 2007 several deaneries across the UK have established training programmes in SEM, and recurrent funding for 50 National Training Numbers (NTN's) is available.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Government Office for Science – GOV.UK. Retrieved on 2016-10-06.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Why ACSM?". American College of Sports Medicine. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  9. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International. "Our Mission". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  10. ^ "ABOUT AMSSM". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  11. ^ De Conde, C. (1990). The CATA – A Historical Perspective. The Journal of the Canadian Athletic Therapists' Association, 6–10.
  12. ^ "Athletic Trainers". Explore Health Careers. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  13. ^ Cite error: The named reference undefined was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ "The Origins of Sports Medicine". Aspetar.
  15. ^ Heggie. "A History of British Sports Medicine".

Further reading[edit]